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Collage wins national honor

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By Tom Wilmoth

After a 10-year hiatus, the Collage literary magazine is back at Liberty High School.

And in fine style.

Adviser Charlotte Frazer and the 2006-2007 student staff resurrected the publication last year and were awarded a Gold Medal Certificate by Columbia Scholastic Press Association for their efforts. In all, Collage received 925 out of 1,000 possible points in the critique.

Frazer is an English, journalism and creative writing teacher at LHS. Two years ago the decision was made to begin producing a literary magazine again at the school.

"The kids pretty much did everything," Frazer said of the first effort. "It was their first go at it."

And the staff did it without some of the better graphic design programs usually associated with putting together such a publication. "We didn't really have the right equipment as far as computers were concerned," Frazer said.

But that didn't seem to matter. The students produced quality right from the start. "That's why it's pretty impressive," she said of the students' work and recognition. "I wasn't expecting that at all."

A staff of 24 helped produce the magazine. The staff had one mantra: "If your name is on it, it has to be quality."

The staff held a poetry contest during the year which produced some of the work included in the magazine. "They were working really hard to determine what quality was."

The art teachers helped by providing work from their students and the Collage staff spent most of last March putting the layout together. That included a couple of long nights just before Spring Break.

Seckman Printing of Forest printed the project, producing 500 copies for the school in five days. The magazine was sold for $6 each to students, parents and to residents in the community. "The goal last year was just to have enough money to pay the printer and not be in debt," Frazer said. A CD was also included to go along with the magazine for $1, which included various students and their poetry.

Several fundraisers were held to help pay for the project.

Now in its second year, the current staff is also hard at work to get the next issue ready.

The staff is hoping for even more of a variety of literary pieces to be included in this year's magazine. Those are expected to include more fiction and creative non-fiction.

Submissions for Collage are open to anyone in the school, including teachers. The works submitted are critiqued for possible publication by the 27-member staff, without the authors of the works being known.

"That's really important," Frazer said of the process, which eliminates any bias. "The literary staff will argue with each other heatedly about what should and shouldn't go in. They really take ownership of the project."

The hope is the size of this year's Collage will be increased by about 20 pages with a publication date set for May 1.

Frazer said the purpose of producing the publication is not to win awards. "As the adviser I want the students to put out a publication they can be proud of," she said. "I want something to come out of Liberty High School that is really polished looking, that is quality.

"It's a really important outlet for the creative kids to have at our school."

She said the design has changed a lot from the publications put out 10 years ago. And the first try was an instant success.

"You hope for some kind of recognition, but we weren't expecting this at all," Frazer said of the honor for last year's magazine.